ICMR inks deal with US body, Gates Foundation for healthcare research collaboration

New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) inked a declaration of intent with a US institution and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to take forward an ongoing collaborative research and training programme between the two countries.

The declaration of intent between ICMR and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) of the National Institutes of Health, USA and BMGF was exchanged in the presence of US Ambassador Kenneth I Juster and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, according to a statement.

The collaboration will establish a research fellowship programme for young scientists in India and US to expand research that will advance discovery to improve clinical practice and benefit public health in both countries.

The initial focus of this fellowship programme is intended to engage scientists in infectious disease and immunology research, with an emphasis on diseases that affect women and children.

During the event, which also marked the celebration of 108th Foundation Day of ICMR, Gates presented ICMR Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare to three game-changers of the country in the field of health.

The awards were presented to Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, Chairman and Managing Director, Serum Institute of India; Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon India; and Dr Prakash Baba Amte, Director, Lok Biradari Prakalp. The awardees have been recognised for their efforts in providing better health care to people in the country and globally through innovative diagnostics, cost-effective life-saving tools and increasing access to healthcare at the grassroots.

Commenting on the importance of the collaborative fellowship programme with NIH and BMGF, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said, 'There are great benefits in investing in research, especially in areas of infectious diseases and immunology, which will help the world in combating some of the debilitating diseases of the world. ICMR is aggressively working towards major advances in preventing, treating, and curing diseases. This collaboration will give us a boost in finding cures that will make lives healthy and productive, not only in India but across the world.' Bill Gates said, 'The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to working collaboratively with the ICMR to provide support in development of solutions to some of the major health challenges facing India and the world.' PTI PLB SMNSMN